Organic Food Provides No Health Benefits

Before I get into a recap of my afternoon/evening (and an awesome freebie I had), I wanted to share with you the latest scoop on organic food.

Organic Food Is Not As Healthy As It Seems!

If you are one of the nearly 75 percent of Americans who pays extra for organic food thinking it is healthier, you may want to save your money. New evidence suggests that organic foods hold no added health or nutritional benefit compared with nonorganic foods.

Organic Marinara

In a study published this week in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from the London School of Medicine found no differences in most nutrients in organically or conventionally grown crops, including vitamin C, calcium, and iron. The same was found for meat, dairy, and eggs.

Some consumers also believe that organic foods provide a significant benefit over ordinary foods because they are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and artificial fertilizers, among other things. However, some experts believe there is insufficient research on the long-term effects of pesticides on humans.

RWC Note…. Although I strive to eat all-natural foods, I don’t necessarily choose organic over nonorganic because it’s better. When I do go organic, it’s because: 1) organic food may be the cheaper option (but this is rare) or, 2) among some all-natural food brands, organic may be your only option (so was the case in my Newman’s marinara seen above.)

So, the next time you’re deciding between organic and non, you may want to base your purchase on cost value rather than health-related value.

Back to may day….

I ran more errands this afternoon but did manage to get out to a local park to stretch my legs a little more. I also made an awesome sausage-pasta dish for dinner:

Sausage-pasta2

I call this dish my Italian Sausage-Pasta with Leeks. It is absolutely yummy and has become a standard in the RWC household. Here’s what you need to make it:

RWC Italian Sausage-Pasta With Leeks Recipe

  • 3 links Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 small carton of button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 large leeks (white parts only, sliced length wise, then crosswise into 1-inch half-circle pieces – rinsed)
  • 2 bell peppers (any color you like, cut in long thin strips)
  • 8 oz of short pasta, cooked and drained (rotini, shells, or campenelle)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock/broth

Add the oil to a large saute pan. Add chopped Italian sausage and mushrooms to the pan and saute until sausage is thoroughly browned and mushrooms are cooked through, stirring constantly so meat does not burn. Add leeks and bell peppers and saute until veggies are tender (but not mushy) about 8 minutes. Add butter, shallot, and broth, and cook on medium-high for 5-8 minutes or until some of the juice has evaporated a little. Add cooked pasta (that has been drained) to the sausage mixture and mix thoroughly. Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 people.

If you like Italian sausage, I can almost guarantee you will make this dish more than once! I have used turkey Italian sausage before and it tastes just as good (although my husband would argue this point). I also like to change up the color of my peppers to give the dish a little variety. You can really add more than 2 peppers if you like, because they give the dish so much flavor!

Sausage-pasta1

My husband and I were pretty full, so we decided to head up to the local outdoor mall to walk off some of our dinner. We also decided to get a little treat for ourselves – ice cream!

Cold Stone

We went to Cold Stone Creamery – which we love but don’t go there very often because it’s so expensive. I had a kid’s size French Vanilla with chocolate cake – fantastic! And, to make things even better, our ice creams were free because they made a mistake on our bill (overcharged us by more than $4.00 – how does that happen?) The manager said it’s store policy to comp the order if they make a mistake on your bill. I was very impressed by this great customer service and especially appreciate that I didn’t have to shell out $10 for ice cream.

Now, I’m off to bed. Yoga starts at 8 AM tomorrow!

Fitness Magazines Motivate You To Live Healthy

I recently had someone ask me what health magazines I read. Oh my – there are so many! I am a magazine fanatic, but I especially love health and fitness magazines. I just love getting a bunch of little tidbits of health information all wrapped up in a nice, portable, easy to read package.

Magazines

As for subscriptions, I subscribe to several magazines, mostly health-related, including:

  • Shape
  • Self
  • Fitness 
  • Real Simple
  • Marie Claire

And, there are many more that I don’t subscribe to that I frequently read, whether I get them from the library or read them while relaxing at Barnes and Noble. Here are just a few that I read (although do not subscribe to) on a regular basis:

  • Body and Soul
  • Yoga Journal
  • Natural Health
  • Fine Cooking
  • Cooking Light
  • Bon Appetit
  • Runner’s World

Health and fitness magazines are not the end-all, be-all in wellness information, but they provide a nice overview of what’s new and different in the wellness world, as well as new twists to old favorites. They also provide great ideas for recipes, new fitness or food products, and continued motivation to stay healthy. Although every magazine reguritates information, or at least topics, at some point, I can honestly say that I learn something new each time I read a new issue of my favorite magazines.

Now, on to my day….

What a difference a day makes! Although I still don’t feel completely rested, I woke up with way more energy than I did yesterday – maybe it’s because today is my day off! By the way, I did not do my Yoga Download last night. I became too engrossed in writing and watching Harry Potter at the same time. I’ve seen the first HP movie a dozen times but it never gets old.

I started my day with a 4 mile run, then walked for a short time. The weather was just perfect too, low humidity and 70 degrees. 

I had an appointment early this morning so I had to make a quick breakfast and get out the door.

Cereal-walnuts

I had a little cheerios with about 2 tbsp walnuts and, what else? Blueberries! I’m still trying to use up the monster-size blueberry container I purchased from Costco. It’s been almost 2 weeks and they are still in the fridge and still fairly fresh. 

I headed to may appointment then onto the grocery store where I picked up a ton of fresh fruit – bananas, pears, apples, etc. Can’t wait to dig in..

I was super hungry by the time I returned from the store – I’m really surprised I didn’t buy more groceries considering I was so hungry.

Time for lunch…

7.31 sandwich

I had a 1/2 sandwich made with peppered turkey breast and low-fat hard salami, a little white cheddar cheese, and some dijon mustard, all on a piece of 12-grain bread. I also had a few carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, and some Kettle’s Salt and Pepper chips on the side. Perfect for a hot summer lunch.

Carrot stick

After lunch, I took a quick dip in our pool. Once I was used to the cool water, it was quite refreshing on a hot day. 

Now, I’m off to write more articles. Chat with you later.

Nuts and Bowls

Hello All. Hope you had a wonderful day. My day was crazy busy with meetings. I also sat in our office library for about 4 hours reviewing more video footage for a tribute video I’m working on.

Even though I was heads down for most of the day, I did take a break for lunch. I had planned on going out to eat but I honestly was not very hungry. I decided not to waste my money and calories on restaurant food when I knew I really wouldn’t enjoy it. Instead, I had another yogurt-fruit bowl.

Lunch Bowl2

My yogurt bowl was made with a base of Trader Joe’s Organic Greek Yogurt in vanilla flavor. I just want to clarify that I do not eat organic food because it’s better tasting or better for you (more on this topic in another post). I try to choose foods that are all-natural (organic food falls into this category) and sometimes organic is the only choice at the time.

To my yogurt, I added a ton of chopped walnuts (great source of omega 3’s!), a few flakes of coconut, dried pineapple and bananas, and a handful of fresh blueberries (love those antioxidants). It was awesome and looked very cool in the new bowl I scored from the concert a few days ago. The bowl even came with a matching spoon.

Lunch Bowl4

And that my friends was the only thing I ate for the rest of the time I was at work. That’s how filling it was! 

When I finally arrived home from work around 6:30 PM, I still wasn’t that hungry. I made a simple and small taco salad bowl. I threw in a a bunch of lettuce, some turkey taco meat from Monday’s dinner, cheddar cheese, and grape tomatoes.

taco salad2

It was just ho-hum, but satisfying. But, now that my stomach has settled a little, I’m off to do some yoga.

Night everyone!

Desperately Seeking Yoga

Boy, for getting a decent night’s sleep (7 hours) I still feel like I’m dragging this morning. Although I still did a 4 1/2 mile run, I felt like it would never end. Even after chugging a bunch of water and eating a protein-packed breakfast, I still feel in a fog. I’m chalking this yucky feeling up to the extremely high humidity we are having here today. It’s nearly giving me a headache.

pbbanana1

For breakfast, I had a piece of 12-grain bread with all-natural creamy peanut butter, with a few banana slices. It was good, but I didn’t finish it all – just wasn’t that hungry.

pbbanana4

What I really need is some Tazo Awake tea (and I have none) and a little yoga. Yoga always seems to clear my head in the morning, but it’s a little difficult to excuse myself at work, go into a conference room, and get into savasana. People might think I’ve passed out! However, we are trying to get a yoga instructor to come into our office once a week, which would be awesome! I would really like to increase my yoga practice to more than one day a week and this would be the perfect way to do it.

If you’re thinking about trying yoga, I would definitely recommend taking a few classes to learn the basics. Then, once you’re familiar with the concept and the poses, then you can practice at home. 

But, if you just want a quick illustration of a yoga class or to see what yoga is all about, a good place to learn is at yogadownload.com. You can download free 20-minute yoga lessons and print out free step-by-step illustrations of poses. You do need to create an account first, but it’s very easy and free. You can also go to Yoga Journal to learn about yoga basics, as well as additional information about healthy eating and living.

I’m planning on doing a short Yoga Download session tonight. Just thinking about it is already making me feel a little better. Ah… the power of yoga!

Lunch in the Garden Can Boost Your Mood

Hello everyone. I had an awesome afternoon today. My team went out to lunch at a local botanical garden. I just love my job!

I was so extremely tired before lunch, but then when we arrived at the gardens, I seemed to perk up – and wake up – a little. It’s funny how your environment can affect your mood like that. I mean, how can you not be happy and inspired by all of this color…

flower

Definitely no grey gardens here!

Before venturing into the garden for a quick stroll, we ate at the little garden cafe. Although the cafe has a very limited menu, what they serve is all natural and the produce is all organic. Even the plates and utensils are environmentally friendly – they’re all biodegradable. 

For lunch, I had a very tasty grilled veggie panini made with portobello mushrooms, roasted peppers, tomato, and goat cheese on focaccia bread. The presentation of the food was quite lackluster – it was served in a cardboard holder – but the panini made up for it.

lunch1

The sandwich came with a few crinkle chips, but I only ate a few. I wanted to save more room for the yummy sammy!

lunch2

After lunch, we headed into the gardens and they were amazing! They reminded me of gardens I had seen in Europe. We only spent about 20 minutes there, but I was still able to get some great shots.triangle garden

flower2

It was a beautiful day to take in all of the sites at the garden. And, I just love sneaking in exercise on my extended lunch hour. It makes the day go by so much faster and I burn a few calories too!

Although I was pretty full from my panini, I wanted a little somethin’ somethin’ in the afternoon. So, for a quick treat, I ate the lemon pound cake that I saved from my trip to the gardens.

Lemon pound cake

It was so lemony and sweet! It tasted a lot like Ina Garten’s yogurt lemon cake recipe, which I absolutely love.

I was still a little full by the time I arrived home from work at 6 PM, so I had a lighter dinner than I planned.

Dinner1

It was a simple dinner of roasted veggies, with about 1 cup pasta with marinara sauce. I also added 3/4 of an Italian sausage for protein and spicy flavor.

I have a few more things to get finished tonight, so gotta run! Have a great night all.

Morning Wake-up Call in a Bowl

Morning all! I am really glad this is my off day from running because I am sooo tired from staying out late last night. I was up until 12:30 AM, which is so NOT a good idea on a Tuesday when you have to work the next day. 

I tried to give myself a wake-up call this morning with a little energizing breakfast…

Gereal-granola2

I started with a base of about a cup of Cheerios, then added the rest of my RWC Tropical Granola, and a handful of fresh blueberries. There’s nothing like a bit of c-r-u-n-c-h in the morning to get you going.

Cereal-granola3

OK, enough chatter. I’m off to make some tea before I fall asleep!

Have a great morning!

Italian Dinner and Gershwin

Good evening (or should I say good morning?) everyone! It’s just after midnight here and I just arrived home about 30 minutes ago. My husband and I went to an outdoor concert to hear Lang Lang and Herbie Hancock (quite an odd pair) play Gershwin and Mozart. The weather was beautiful and the music was very relaxing. So relaxing in fact, that it added to my already tired nature. That’s what I get for waking up at 5:30 AM to run!

Prior to the concert, my husband and I went to a local Italian eatery for a little dinner. We started with a chopped salad….

Chop salad

made with lettuce, bacon, tomato, scallions, pasta, and fresh mozzarella cheese. It was good, but the dressing made my stomach a little queasy so I had to stop eating it. No problem though, because my husband stepped in and ate my portion.

Italian sausage dish

For my entree, I had the country-style rigatoni made with Italian sausage, mushrooms, roasted peppers, tomato, and fresh basil, all in a garlic cream sauce. It was D-Lish and I ate it all!

Italian sasuage close

My husband had something that he normally does not eat in our house – shrimp. I don’t care for seafood – any kind of seafood at all. And, I especially don’t like the smell of seafood in the house. So when we go out to eat, he tries to order something that he wouldn’t normally have at home – so in this case it was spicy garlic shrimp with angel hair pasta.

Shrip Angel Hair

Here shrimpy, shrimpy…

Shrimp

Our meals each came with a huge garlic breadstick…

Breadstick

It was really a nice dinner for two – and all under $20. Not bad at all! 

OK, it’s off to bed with me. No running tomorrow – it’s my off day. But, I don’t think I’d be able to get up at 5:30 AM anyway!

A Fruity Breakfast, With a Side of Protein

I had another HOT run this morning. The humidity was really high as well, which made it a little hard to breathe. But I was still able to go about 4 1/2 miles. 

Before heading to work, I refueled with a TON of fruit.

Peach1

I started with a huge peach that was so juicy and sweet – yum!

Peach2

Although I was feeling just peachy after my peach, I still needed a little more food. But I was still very hot from my run (and it was hot in the house) so I had a major craving for cold food, meaning fruit. Watermelon chunk

I had a few watermelon chunks and felt refreshed. But alas, where is RWC’s protein in her fruit-filled breakfast?

Not wanting to skip my protein this morning – because it’s what keeps you full – I also nibbled on a little all-natural peanut butter on a couple whole wheat crackers (sorry, no picture).

I have a really busy day today so I must be off. I need to leave work at a decent time tonight because my husband and I are attending an outdoor concert. More details on that later today…

Have a great day everyone!

A Healthy Mexican Fiesta

It’s a hot one this evening. It doesn’t help that my hot laptop is sitting on my legs and that my husband and I are too budget-conscious to turn on the air conditioning. Instead, we open all the windows and turn on all of the fans, which helps a little, particularly if you are sitting directly under the fan.

I originally brought leftovers for my lunch – 1/2 a turkey burger and couscous, but it just didn’t sound appetizing. I opted for plan B….

Chobani yogurt

Chobani All-Natural Greek yogurt, vanilla flavor. I bought this yesterday during a quick trip to Fresh Market. This was the first time I had ever tried this brand of  yogurt and I really liked it. To add a little more nutritious value to my yogurt lunch, I threw in a handful of blueberries, two strawberries, and a 1/4 cup of RWC Tropical Granola mix. Yum and so filling! I was seriously no where near hungry after I ate this. And, in spite of not having meat or veggies, my lunch had plenty of protein and fiber, as well as vitamin C.

I left work later than usual – about 5:40 PM – and arrived home to a fully prepared Mexican fiesta…

Taco1

Mexican food doesn’t have to be loaded with calories and “bad” fat to taste good. Instead, we make a lighter version of our tacos by using lean ground turkey in place of ground beef for the meat, and we add tons of fresh veggies and a little guacamole and cheese to top it off. 

Guac bowl

Holy guacamole! Can you say Ole?

Guac on chip

I just love this stuff. I remember a time when I didn’t like guacamole. I think it was because I had never really tried it, but thought anything that color green would not be appetizing. How wrong I was!

Now that I am fairly content with my awesome and light Mexican dinner, I’m debating on whether or not homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies could be considered part of the Mexican diet. I think yes.

Cookie1

So pass the cookies (and skim milk) please!

Night everyone!

Two Watermelons Are Better Than One

Oh my, the weather is just awesome today. It’s supposed to be 85 degrees and sunny. I would love nothing more than to be home laying out by the pool eating watermelon, but there is work to be done as always.

After my morning run, I munched on a little breakfast…

English muffin

I made a 100 calorie Thomas’ Multigrain English muffin and topped it with all-natural raspberry preserves and all-natural creamy peanut butter. I love peanut butter in the morning. It’s a great source of protein and I can’t get enough of the creamy texture and taste. I’m tempted to buy freshly-made peanut butter from Whole Foods or Fresh Market….hmmm, maybe I’ll pick some up on the next trip to the store.

I also had a bowl of super juicy seedless watermelon that I bought yesterday for only $2.50!! I was so excited a the deal that I bought two watermelons!

Watermelon2

I realize that two watermelons may be a little overkill, but in our case, two watermelons are better than one. Whenever we’ve bought two watermelons in the past, my husband and I have eaten ALL of it in about 10 days. The trick is to only cut up as much as you are going to eat in the first few days (such as 1/2 of a watermelon) and leave the rest uncut on the rind. Put the uncut melon in a huge bowl or just put foil over the top and stick it in the fridge. This method seems to keep the uncut melon fresh, so when you do want more, it still tastes great.

And, I never feel bad about eating more than my share of watermelon. A full cup only has about 50 calories and is a great source of both vitamins A and C.

Alright, I’m off to get some tea, then it’s back to work for me!